Someone parked in my spot, can I have them towed?

towed car

Can you have someone towed if they park in your parking spot? The short answer in Australia is… it depends.

Misuse of parking on private property is a rampant issue, especially prevalent in our congested cities. What many people don’t realise is that everyone from strata, to private citizens, to police and even councils, hold limited powers to forcefully remove unauthorised vehicles.

This may seem discouraging news to one who’s had their parking spot invaded, especially if it is a regular occurrence. In fact, this is among the many reasons we got into the parking bollards industry in the first place! But there are steps you can take to mitigate the chance illegal parking occurs as well as deal with the situation after the fact. We’ve outlined a few of these suggestions for you below.

tow people

Towing:

As a last resort, towing is technically possible where the car has been illegally parked on common property. The vehicle would need to be obstructing an entry or exit point, have been left unattended for long enough to be considered abandoned, or be breaking other significant legislation. Many tow truck drivers are hesitant to accept jobs that aren’t black-or-white in terms of legality, so it is not always as easy as picking up the phone to obtain this service. On top of that, most tow trucks would be too tall to fit into a lot of underground parking basements. This may also come with expenses, and will definitely result in a heated confrontation with the individual whose car you’re towing. You also open yourself up to potential civil action, which while may not be warranted, but could still be an awful waste of your time and energy. 

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Preventive Measure: Install parking bollards:

Remote-control-parking-bollard-tms-apl2
Remote Control Parking Bollard TMS-APL2

Honestly, you often need to cut your losses on illicit parkers as legislation currently stands. Consider your time and energy if you do pursue the battle as well. The best way around this is to take control of your parking space by stopping the problem from occurring in the first place.

Car park bollards or other barriers such as chain ropes serve as a physical preventive measure to illicit parking. There are different kinds of parking bollards and parking locks to suit your budget, ranging from automatic parking barriers to plain old-school manual parking posts. They’re usually quite straightforward to install – especially if they’re battery-powered like the ones we stock.  

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Bollard installations in NSW

Preventive Measure: Install parking signs:

‘No parking’ signs are an affordable, time-old and relatively effective deterrent to illegal parking. Whether pesky parkers actually respect the signs or not is another thing entirely.

Preventive Measure: Install a boom gate:

This will require a ticketing or other access system, and is not viable for every building due to the hefty expense both purchasing and maintaining one incurs. It requires a lot of hard-wired engineering, and some buildings just don’t have the ability to do this. Also while it secures a larger area, it doesn’t work to secure individual parking bays.

Preventive Measure: Hire a security guard:

If your parking enforcement is out of control, a physical presence may be the deterrent you’re looking for. Of course, this is an expensive option with minimal reach. 

Preventive Measure: Pass a by-law:

Your strata facility may be able to pass a by-law to restrict access times and frequencies, and there are certainly a few existing ones your premises can adopt.  

Be careful of trying to enforce consequences such as wheel clamps – which companies are notoriously unwilling to oblige in case there is damage to the vehicle’s rims and subsequent law suits – or penalty fines, which a NCAT case has determined in the past to be “unlawful”. If drafting a by-law for your own building, best to do some homework and wisest to get a specialty strata lawyer to advise you on what will and won’t fly.

For more information on the legislation and some official government suggestions, take a look at “Ideas for Landowners and Strata/Community Schemes“.

For more detail on how to remove a car from a strata building, head on over to our blog on towing an illegally parked vehicle.